A Cleveland man pleaded guilty to fraud after investigators with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) caught him on video working as a tow truck driver while he was supposed to be off work recovering from a workplace injury. Luis A. Toro was sentenced in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas and must repay nearly $20,000.
“The video shows Mr. Toro’s ability to work even as he was collecting payments that are intended for those not yet able to return to their jobs,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer. “He clearly was able to return to work but took a chance by ignoring the restrictions in place to limit abuse – and now he must repay what he illegally collected.”
BWC’s Special Investigations Department received a tip on its fraud hotline alleging Toro was working as a tow truck driver in Cleveland while collecting workers’ compensation benefits. Agents conducted numerous surveillance and undercover operations and confirmed Toro continued to work as a self-employed tow truck driver in conflict with the rules associated with the workplace injury benefits he was receiving.
Toro was collecting Temporary Total Disability benefits when agents captured the video. This is usually the first form of compensation awarded during an injured worker’s recovery from a work-related injury. An injured worker cannot work and receive temporary total disability payments.
Toro pleaded guilty to a felony count of workers’ compensation fraud Jan. 16. The judge ordered him to pay $16,963.71 in restitution and $3,000 in investigative costs. Toro was also ordered to nine months incarceration, suspended for five years of community control.
Source: Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC)